Report outlines global biodiesel production

By Erin Voegele | August 30, 2011

A new report has found that global biofuel production reached an all time high in 2010. The research report, titled “Biofuels Regain Momentum,” was conducted by the Worldwatch Institute’s Climate and Energy Program for the website Vital Signs Online. The report attributes the 2010 surge in biofuel production to high oil prices, a global economic rebound and new laws and mandates that were put in place in Argentina, Brazil, China, the U.S., and other nations.

According to the report, global biodiesel production increased by 12 percent between 2009 and 2010, reaching an estimated production level of 19 billion liters (5.02 billion gallons). While the EU remained the world’s largest biodiesel producing region in 2010, accounting for approximately 53 percent of global production, the report found that growth in the region fell dramatically. Biodiesel production in the EU grew by 19 percent between 2008 and 2009, but between 2009 and 2010 the region’s production grew by only 2 percent.

The report noted that the world’s top biodiesel producing countries in 2010 were Germany and Brazil, with respective production levels of 2.9 billion liters (766 million gallons) and 2.3 billion liters (608 million gallons). Biodiesel production in Germany grew by 12 percent in 2010. However, production in Brazil grew by an astonishing 46 percent during that time. In fact, the report states that the growth in biodiesel production in Brazil accounts for approximately one-third of the global increase of biodiesel production in 2010.

Production also increased by significant amounts in other nations. Argentina’s industry grew by 57 percent to 2.1 billion liters (555 million gallons). However, production in France actually fell by 600 million liters (159 million gallons) to 2 billion liters (528 million gallons) in 2010. The report also notes that countries in Asia produced approximately 12 percent of the world’s biodiesel last year, which is a 20 percent increase over the 2009 production level for the region. The majority of Asian biodiesel was produced from palm oil in Indonesia and Thailand.

Furthermore, the report states that the rising cost of rapeseed oil in Europe, coupled with the growth of low-cost production in Canada, Argentina and Indonesia, meant that only 40 percent of the EU’s production capacity was utilized in 2010. The region relied on cheap imports to meet the rest of its demand for biodiesel. In fact, the report notes that 71 percent of the biodiesel produced in Argentina in 2010 was exported to Europe. 


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